It looks to be one of the strangest years yet for Pakistan with regards to climate change. While the country saw an early onset of summer, with unusually high temperatures in March and April, the snow melting process in mountainous and hilly areas has not picked up pace. Even the temperatures in Skardu have doubled—from 11 degree Celsius last year to 22.2 degree on Saturday—but snow melting has not increased.

These developments are highly disconcerting, considering the devastating consequences any small change in the climate can have on all strata of Pakistan’s economy. The damage that the slow melting of snow can have is already reflected in the national water flow data, compiled by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda). For the last 10 days, national water supplies have dipped substantially below not only last year’s levels, but average supplies of the last five or 10 years for the day. To make matters worse, there has been virtually no rain in March and April, putting a further burden on water resources.

The dangers of water scarcity in Pakistan cannot be understated. Pakistan is already very close to fulfilling the threshold of a water-scarce nation, and any exacerbation of the situation should ring alarm bells. A scenario where temperatures are higher than ever, but water supply is lower than average, can mean disastrous heatwaves. Moreover, the major chunk of Pakistan’s industry is agricultural, and any ups and downs in the water supplies can be highly consequential for the growing of crops. Already Pakistani farmers have been forced to start the Kharif season with close to a 40 percent shortage in both of its water-producing systems.

For now, those in power need to think of both emergency interim measures to deal with the crisis and also long term ones considering how this will now be a trend with shifting climate trends. There is more to snow melting than just the temperature involved, with all kinds of varying weather conditions affecting the snowmelt process. The climate and water ministries need to consult experts in finding out the reasons behind this sudden change in order to mitigate the impact in the coming years.